By Howard Koplowitz
Among the 16 candidates as of Jan. 15, Elizabeth Crowley, a cousin of Queens Democratic Party Chairman and U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), leads all City Council candidates in the borough in fund-raising with more than $70,000, according to city Campaign Finance Board disclosures filed last week.Of the borough's 14 councilmen, 13 will be forced out of office at the end of 2009 due to term limits that preclude them from serving more than two consecutive terms. City Councilman Tom White (D-Jamaica) was elected to his first term in 2006 and can run again.There are yet to be any declared candidates in five of the 14 districts, but the elections are more than a year away.The $70,770 raised by Elizabeth Crowley, who is vying for the seat currently held by embattled City Councilman Dennis Gallagher (R-Middle Village), is also the fourth-highest amount of any Council candidate in the city. She has already spent nearly a third Ð $20,660 Ð of her funds.Elizabeth Crowley ran for the seat when it was open in 2001 but lost to Gallagher, who was indicted on rape charges last year.She is not the only candidate that comes from a family involved in politics.Paul Vallone, the son of former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. and brother of City Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. (D-Astoria), is seeking the northeast Queens seat to be vacated by City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who is running for mayor in 2009.Paul Vallone raised more than $47,000 for the 19th Council District seat Ð the third-highest amount raised in Queens behind Michael Simanowitz Ð chief of staff to Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn (D-Flushing) Ð with more than $56,000 and Crowley. Two other candidates Ð Steven Anthony Behar and Debra Markell Ð declared they are running in the 19th CD, making it the most competitive race so far. Former Community Board 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece told the TimesLedger he was also running, although his name does not appear on a list of candidates with the Campaign Finance Board.Behar has raised $4,110 as of Jan. 15 and spent $730. Markell did not submit a disclosure statement.Other contests that feature more than one declared candidate include the race for the 23rd CD seat currently held by City Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis), who is running for comptroller in 2009.That race pits Bob Friedrich, the president of Glen Oaks Village, against self-proclaimed “unpolitician” and businessman Dave Kerpen of Little Neck.Kerpen raised twice as much as Friedrich by the Jan. 15 deadline with more than $19,000 compared to $9,416 for Friedrich.Friedrich has already spent more than 70 percent Ð $6,779 Ð of the amount he raised, while Kerpen has spent $3,186 so far.In the nearby 24th CD, covering Fresh Meadows, Jamaica Estates and parts of Forest Hills and Jamaica, Simanowitz is running against Richard Harris, who did not provide information to the Campaign Finance Board. The seat is currently held by City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), who is eyeing a run against state Sen Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose).The seat held by City Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills) is being contested by Lynn Schulman Ð who raised more than $17,000 Ð and Robert DeLay Ð $1,645.CB 8 District Manager Frank Galluscio, who raised $4,575, is competing against Republican District Leader Eric Ulrich Ð $18,565 raised Ð for the seat held by City Councilman Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), who is expected to challenge incumbent state Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale). Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.